Despite the hiatus between the pioneering work of Robert Brunschvig and that of Besim Hakim, there is now growing awareness of an historical element of Sunni Islamic law that concerns the regulation of the Arab-Muslim medina’s architectural environment, most especially its neighborhoods, a large proportion of its fabric. Brunschvig’s distinction was to offer Western scholarship an appraisal of this regulation, drawing extensively from two key medieval texts: KitAb al-QaRA” wa nafy al-Rarar “an al-afniya wa al-Vuruq wa al-judur wa al-mabAnC wa al-saSAt wa al-shajar wa al-jAmi“ (The Book of Judgement and Elimination of Harm regarding Public Spaces, Streets, Walls, Buildings, Courtyards, Trees, etc.), by Ibn al-Imam (d. 991 or 997) of Andalusia; and KitAb al-I“lAn bi-aSkAm al-bunyAn (The Book of Pronouncing Building Rulings) by Ibn al-Ramc (d. after 1333) of Tunisia.4 Forty years later when Hakim came to the subject, an unpublished Ph.D. thesis referring to the above titles had been written, but little else;5 and although his book Arabic-Islamic Cities: Building and Planning Principles tends to over simplification and has been criticized for being partisan, it was instrumental to the development of the subject as an area of academic research.6

In quick succession, other works followed its publication, culminating in the three-volume Ph.D. thesis of Jean-Pierre Van Staëvel, “Les usages de la ville.”7